Blogging About: Educational Leadership
Educational Philosophy: The purpose of education is to create a well-informed, skilled, and collaborative citizenry, capable of creating collective solutions to diverse, multifaceted problems and functioning appropriately in a rapidly evolving global society.
Within this system, student achievements must extend well beyond the learning of specific course content. In today’s technologically advanced and connected society, much of the information we use to teach our students can now be easily accessed online using devices already in their pockets. Instead, today’s students must learn how to filter through this abundance of information, determining which information is accurate, reliable, and valid and which information may be biased, have an alternative agenda, and/or be unreliable. This is no easy task, as much of the information out there today is complexly nuanced and not easily sortable into simple, dichotomous categories.
Therefore, our schools must teach our students how to be critical thinkers and how to skeptically embrace information they read and hear. To this end, we as educators must be able to see student learning within a broader context of the skills that are really important for students to be successful in the 21st century. The necessity for this extends beyond the awareness that the world has changed or that the world continues to change. We as educators must also understand that the pace of this change is exponentially increasing at a rate unseen in human history before.
Being able to participate in and learn from these opportunities has ignited a passion within me for leadership and an appreciation for which effective school leadership can foster stronger working relationships and collegiality among staff and students in a building, improving the level of professionalism and sense of pride and duty to our mutual calling to improve student achievement and learning outcomes through the educational experience.
Regardless of where my future pathways will take me in my career, I will still always firmly believe that the most important variable to shape student achievement and growth in learning will be the quality of the teacher in the classroom. Certainly, there are variables that influence student outcomes that lie outside the control of the teacher, including socioeconomic status and family relationships and dynamics. However, several studies have shown that by having a common educational philosophy and vision as well as a system designed to overcome those factors, student-learning outcomes can still overcome such adversity.
Ultimately, though, to enable success in an educational system that is growing in nuanced complexity, expectations and priorities, and uncertainty around future funding levels, school leaders must remain diligent and maintain a laser-like focus on the most important part of education, our students and their learning. I firmly believe that school leaders today must, first and foremost, be leaders of learning and instruction.
In any future role I may have, I must have a foot placed clearly in the classroom. This may not mean that I am a classroom teacher, but I need to be in classrooms. I need to interact and work with the staff and students in my building in the environment in which they are learning. I need to see how they are learning, be a part of the learning process, and modeling how to be a lifetime learner.